Australia lose top spot in ICC rankings as Sri Lanka seal 3-0 Test series sweep

India have taken over first place – but will relinquish it to Pakistan if they fail to win the final Test of their current series in West Indies.

Sri Lanka declared their second innings on 347-8 early on day five in Colombo, setting the Aussies 324 to win.

But only David Warner (68) resisted as spinner Rangana Herath took 7-64.

The race for number one

A week ago, there were four teams in with a chance of finishing August as the top-ranked Test side.

England’s final Test defeat by Pakistan as their series was drawn 2-2 ended their chances and preserved Pakistan’s hopes – while Australia’s rested on avoiding a series whitewash.

However, Pakistan must now hope their great rivals India do not triumph in their fourth Test in Trinidad, which begins on Thursday. India lead the series 2-0.

Sri Lanka’s success also means South Africa – who began 2016 as number one before losing to England in January – are down to seventh in the rankings.

ICC Test rankings

1 – India – 112 points

6 – Sri Lanka – 95

2 – Pakistan – 111

7 – South Africa – 92

3 – Australia – 108

8 – West Indies – 65

4 – England – 108

9 – Bangladesh – 57

5 – New Zealand – 99

10 – Zimbabwe – 8

Herath’s 28 wickets at an average of 12.75 is the biggest haul for a left-arm bowler in a three-Test series.

Australia crumbled in 44.1 overs against an all-spin attack in the second innings at the spin-friendly Sinhalese Sports Club – indeed, only 17 of the 169.2 overs they faced in the match were bowled by seamers.

Shaun Marsh, a centurion from the first innings, added 77 for the first wicket with Warner but both fell to off-spinner Dilruwan Perera, and the rest of the Australia line-up could not cope with the wily Herath, who returned match figures of 13-145.

As well as being named man of the match, he was also chosen as man of the series as Sri Lanka regained the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy, named after the two most prolific spinners in Test history.

Australia are unbeaten in home Test series since losing to South Africa in December 2012, but have struggled further afield.

This was their third successive series whitewash in Asia, having lost 4-0 to India in 2013 and 2-0 to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates in 2014, while they suffered Ashes defeats in England in 2013 and 2015.

Their only series wins away from home in that time were in West Indies (2015) and New Zealand (2016).

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